About dekart (twitter: @dekart1234)

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Ludum Dare 34
 
Ludum Dare 31
 
Ludum Dare 28
 
Ludum Dare 27
 
Ludum Dare 25
 
Ludum Dare 24

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Alchemist: Day 1 Progress

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Saturday, December 14th, 2013 9:49 am

The day 1 is almost finished for me and it is time to show something. Here’s a screenshot of what I have so far:

alchemist_1

My game will be a match-three puzzle with blackjack and other stuff. You’re playing an alchemist who should mix potions by matching three or more ingredients of the same color in a definite sequence (ie red-green-red-blue). If you match ingredients of incorrect color – they’re simply ignored and doesn’t help reaching the main goal.

The trick is: you have only one minute to mix potion. If you fail – you have to start the level once again. If you succeed – you get additional time and next potion to mix. The difficulty is supposed to grow with every mixed potion.

As usual, my first day is not very productive and this time I wasted few additional hour trying to figure out something not as commonplace as “only one minute”, but in the end I gave up and decided to make something that I’d love to play by myself. Match-three is a very simple mechanic and I’d love to include it to my main project after the Ludum Dare.

Ok, the progress report.

Done:

  • Mockup art
  • Image preloading, animation loop, controls
  • Main game mechanics – swapping ingredients, match detection, affected cell update
  • Basic animation
  • Deployment

Next:

  • Potion mixing
  • Time limits
  • Boosters & special blocks
  • Scores
  • Art
  • Sounds
  • Tutorial (video or few screenshots with text)

I’m going to get back to the game tomorrow morning and continue working on it till the end of the Compo time frame.

You can try the current version of my game here.

I’m in for #28

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Thursday, December 12th, 2013 6:34 am

Was waiting for it too long, I’m already kinda addicted to LD48 :) My last entry unveiled that I need to give much more attention to gameplay itself rather than the art or code so this time I’ll try to keep art and coding as simple as possible and give more attention to the lacking aspects – gameplay, theme, and interaction.

My tools are the same as before:

  • JavaScript (coffeescript) + Pixi.js for coding
  • Photoshop for art
  • Bfxr for sounds
  • My own application skeleton which is available at Github (needs some last minute touches though)

Good luck to you all and have fun!

You have to continue voting! Here’s why…

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Wednesday, September 4th, 2013 11:17 am

I’ve noticed that the major part of the rates for my game were done in first two days and then declined drastically. I only rated about 10 games in the first two days and got 50 rates back, but during the next week I rated more than 100 games and barely got 10 rates back. I suppose the situation for other games is the same – people rated some games from the beginning of the voting list and stopped after a day or two. That’s why I’m writing this post – to give you a reason to continue.

I didn’t stop rating games because I think it’s very useful for me, even if people don’t rate my game back. Here’s why:

New Games

I’m the game developer, but I don’t play games much by myself. I played lots of games before, but now I spend most of my spare time coding games, supporting players in my existing games, meeting with other developers offline, and spending some time with my family. So I actually play games for about an hour or two a month. That’s definitely not enough, but I’m not ready to commit my time to playing some large game while some decent small ones are hard to find.

And now I have hundreds of games made for Ludum Dare. They’re all pretty short, easy to start with, and easy to get new gameplay experience – because most of the developers tried to make them easy to understand in less than 30 seconds. So instead of playing just one game for an hour or two I play 5-10 different games per hour. I wouldn’t find such variety of game at any game portal, let alone Steam and other distribution platforms.

New Ideas

All Ludum Dare game are built around the same theme, so every developer tried to either make something completely new or implement some obvious idea in the unusual way. Yes, some games are very similar (I played at least 10 games about disarming bombs), but the implementation is always different. When you see some patter you start to focus on minor details, some cool features, sounds, or visual effects. All these little things bring you lots of new ideas for your own games.

After playing games like Spacecrap I think that the pixel-perfect art is not necessary to make the game feel real. Aereo made me think about drawing all my sketch art on paper first and use the scanned version in the game (instead of triangles and simple shapes drawn in Photoshop). The 10-second Murder made me think that adding some story with backstreet intrigues instead of fancy animations may make some of my games way better. And the Duellists gave me some absolutely new and amazing ideas about the asynchronous PVP fighting for our Facebook game.

New People

I usually try to check profiles of the people who made the game I like. Some of them have Twitter accounts, some don’t, but I try to find them using google or other sources. Being in touch with people who produce some good stuff is priceless – you can get tons of ideas from what they do. Most of the people who do something interesting are usually open for conversation, they follow you back, give you feedback when you ask, and actually try to help you to succeed with your games.

The community is one of the most important things for game developer. You won’t ever be in the trend if you don’t talk to people. That’s why I consider Ludum Dare a great opportunity to meet active people, check what kind of games they do in their spare time, and how they do it.

Let’s rate some games!

If you didn’t rate any new games in last few days – don’t waste your time! You have only 12 days left.  It may seem a reasonable wide time frame, but the amount of games you can rate is huge – 2213 games! If you don’t like the games appearing at the first page of voting – you can always use search to find some games.

The easiest way is to search games made with web technologies – they won’t require installation and will work in any modern OS and browser. For example: HTML5 games, JavaScript gamesFlash games, Unity games. You can also use names of your favorite frameworks – there’ll be some games to rate, I’m sure.

Let’s go!

P.S. Don’t forget to check my own game – it’s HTML5 so you can try it in your browser, no installation required.

 

Sky Trader Post-Mortem

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 11:18 am

Sky Trader is my third game made for LD48 and my first game of arcade genre. I only made point-and-click games before so making such game was a truly new experience for me. In this article I’ll try to describe what I’ve learned while creating the game.

pirate_base_0000

Theme

Almost everyone who rated my game mentioned it doesn’t match the theme. I definitely agree with this. The only thing that somehow matches the theme is fuel – each can lasts exactly 10 seconds. But it’s definitely not enough to say that the game matches the theme. However, it can be easily explained: I tried to create a fun and interesting game first and make it match the theme later. Obviously, I failed to make it 10-secondish enough :)

Skeleton App

station_0000

During previous competitions I always started development from empty folder. I created Rails application, added all required libs, configured deployment, etc. it usually took from hour to several hours, depending on the weather.

This time I decided to create a skeleton app which already included a set of libraries I was going to use, tested deployment scripts, and some boilerplate game code I use for my other games. It took several hours on Friday to make this app usable and it definitely saved me a lo

t of time and mental power to focus on the game itself. Instead of setting up the app I started coding the game itself from the first minute.

Coding

city_0000I decided to make the game with HTML5 and JavaScript using pixi.js framework. I already had some experience with it so it was a good choice. Pixi.js is pretty simple and it doesn’t restrict you to a certain game structure, genre, or development cycle – it just takes sprites from you and renders them to the canvas with WebGL. It also automates some simple game routines such as sprite atlas loading, animation, rotation, and transparency.

I began the development with some mockup arts and spent the whole first day implementing game logic – ship movement, clouds, pirates, fighting, viewport movement, trading with cities, etc. My coding skills are much better than my art talents, so I decided to make as detailed experience as possible and focus on the art later.

At the end of day one I had fully working version of the game deployed to Heroku. Being able to test the playable version earlier helped a lot – I was able to submit the game as soon as the submission form was open.

Art

ship_squacco_0000I was pretty much surprised that the art for this game got so many positive responses. I’m not an artist and I was extremely pleased to receive positive feedback. I’ll try to describe the art development process in details, probably it will help someone to succeed during the next competitions.

Initially, I was going to draw everything in pixel art, but after trying to draw just one sprite I understood that it will take a day to draw the ship alone, not to mention animations, pirates, cities, and so on. So I decided to try something else.

I started drawing simple sketches in Photoshop at 10x scale of the final image I would like to get in the game. Say, I want to have a city sprite 100×100 pixels. I started drawing it 1000×1000 pixels. Sketches were terrible, but they allowed me to draw images without focusing on precious details of every pixel. Here’s the sample sketch:

city

After drawing the sketch I started adding layers one by one, painting every surface of the object. I focused on colors, shadows, and texture, tried to use Photoshop effects where possible. Half-painted image looks like this:

city_half

The final image at 10x scale looks terribly, but when scaling it down to the designated size it looks OK (large vs. final size in the top right corner):

city_large

Animations

ship_sparrow_0000After making a static version of the image I created a frame-by-frame animation by copying layers in Photoshop and adding motion blur effects. I had about an hour for each sprite, including animation, so I decided to add just one animated element per sprite – rotors for ships and cities, flag for upgrade stations.

Even the simplest possible rotor animation for the main ship made the game much more live and visually appealing. I decided to add animated elements to every object in the game. But I had only few hours left before the compo submission is over, so I had to find another way to animate things rather than drawing everything in Photoshop.

Pixi.js provides simplest API for object rotation and transparency – I decided to use them. Instead of drawing two separate states for static ship and flying ship I decided to simply change inclanation of the ship depending on its speed. It game perfect results – the ship started to feel like real, it got some kind of visual inertia. I decided to use the same effect for pirates, added tilting for bonuses, made cities float up and down.

Audio

I didn’t have enough time to make any sound effects or music for the game, so I decided to just skip this part. My skills with audio software are poor and I don’t think I can produce something satisfying in less than a day or two of trying. I should practice it outside of the competitions to be able to properly use the skills in the limited time frame. I think that the game could be much better with proper sounds and many voters think the same.

Conclusion

I think that I pretty much succeeded with the game – I made a game of a kind I never did before, its visually appealing, it feels good, and I’m even thinking about the post-compo version of the game.

Here’s the short instruction I would recommend myself to follow during the next compo:

  • Make a skeleton app with as many features as possible, excluding features specific to a certain genre or setting
  • Try to stick to the theme – it’s one of the most important things to get good rates
  • Art and sounds are crucially important and require at least 50% of the time limit.
  • Good animations can be done with rotations, scaling, and transparency – and they’re very easy to do.
  • Early feedback is very important. Show your game to your friends and family as early as possible – it will give you new ideas.

Vote!

I would be glad if you’d check my game and let me know your thoughts.health

I’m done. Welcome Sky Trader!

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 5:11 pm

It’s almost an hour till the end of the competition, but I think that all the things I would like to add to the game will take weeks, so I just stop and release it as it is.

Let me introduce my new game – the Sky Trader!

ld27_1

 

This game is very special for me because it’s the first time when I’m satisfied with both code and art. I’m not a designer so even simple art (like in this game) takes hours of my time. Probably my exercises during last few months finally gave me some skills!

I decided to skip audio features at all and focus on art instead. In the end, decent sounds will require hours of work and bad sounds will make game worse, so I decided to just leave it as it is for now.

Please try the game and let me know your thoughts – your feedback is very important for me!

Day 2: art & storyline

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 4:01 am

Yesterday I implemented most of the game logic and animation. It’s already playable (no tutorial yet though) so you can try it right now.

Today will be the day of art, storyline, and polishing. I’m not very good at design, but I’ll learning quickly. Spent two hours making the first image, but second one took about 30 minutes. Check it out:

ld27

 

What do you think about them?

P.S. I still don’t have a name for the game. I need something about sky, trading, being captain, and pirates. Any ideas?

Day 1 Progress

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 1:03 pm

So far so good, the game grows rapidly, there are plenty of features already implemented (in addition to my previous post):

  • There’re pirates in the sky now. They shoot bullets trying to kill your ship. There’s no advanced AI there, try just sniff the air and move in your direction. If you go far enough – they stop following you.
  • You can shoot back too. Actually, I got stuck for an hour trying to figure out a weird bug with half of the bullets not being removed from the canvas as they should. But in the end it was a stupid mistake in my code.
  • Your fuel is limited now. You should buy more fuel in the cities (to-do). Each fuel crystal lasts 10 seconds (ta-da!)

Screenshot:

ld27

 

Game Link: http://sheltered-refuge-9284.herokuapp.com/

Tomorrow I’m going to do the following:

  • Add refills and repairs in the cities
  • Add upgrade stations where you’ll be able to buy new ships with larger cargo bay, increased speed, and better guns.
  • Add guild stations where you’ll receive game goals and track your progress towards being accepted to the Guild of Captains. There’s a short storyline there.
  • Add the Pirate Base. It will be the final boss you’ll need to destroy to win the game.

Hope you’re having fun with your own games :)

Progress: environment, controls, trading

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 3:40 am

STEAMPUNK!

I’m developing a trading game in a steampunk setting! That’s amazing! And I already have some progress:

  • Environment is now done. Sky, drifting clouds, and flying islands are in place.
  • Sky ship controls are done. You can fly across the sky and you can dock to flying cities.
  • Trading is done. You can buy goods from cities and sell them back. Prices are not balanced yet, but there’s a difference between cities – some produce food and ore, others produce machines and goods, and the rest of them produce luxury and books.

What’s next?

  • Pirates. Steampunk is impossible without bad guys!
  • Ship fuel. Here’s where we’ll have the “10 seconds” theme. You’ll have to buy “flight crystals” which power your ship, each crystal gives you 10 seconds of flight. If you’re out of crystals – you’re dead.
  • Ship upgrades. There should be a reason to trade – you’ll be able to upgrade your ship.
  • Goals & story. I already have some ideas for this, but nothing solid yet.

Screenshot:

ld27

 

Want to try it? No problem! Check it out: http://sheltered-refuge-9284.herokuapp.com/

Just starting

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 9:04 pm

I dare say I expected the “10 seconds” theme to win, but anyway it’s a big surprise that from all themes I was thinking about the one with least ideas won. Anyway, I think I’ve figured out what I’m going to do now.

My game will be a trading simulator. The player will drive the ship (in space or sea, not sure yet), dock at stations, buy goods, and sell them at another station. There will be pirates trying to steal goods, police to check ships for illegal goods, and government to ask for tax payments.

I’m starting with a simple prototype with mockup art, will deploy it to Heroku as soon as there will be something to show.

Good luck to you all!

My HTML5 game skeleton

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Friday, August 23rd, 2013 5:39 am

I’m going to use Pixi.js for the upcoming competition so I decided to make a simple application skeleton which I’m going to use for my contest entry. There’s nothing special in it, just a set of open-source libraries and a few additional classes from my previous projects. The code is licensed under MIT license so you’re free to use it for your game entry or future projects.

Included libraries:

  • Pixi.js
  • Spine.js
  • SoundManager2
  • Underscore
  • TweenJS
  • PreloadJS
  • Compass

Services

  • Facebook sharing
  • Twitter sharing
  • Google Analytics

Goodies:

  • Simple preloader
  • Simple sound manager
  • Animator class for pixi.js
  • Base controller for Spine
  • Sample sprite atlas
  • CSS & JavaScript compression with YUI

I also made it possible to easily deploy it to Heroku. Here’s how it looks like: http://desolate-anchorage-4389.herokuapp.com/

You can download the source code at my GitHub page. I wrote a short instruction on how to setup it, but if you’ll decide to use it – please let me know so I can help. It’s a Ruby on Rails application so it may require some skills to setup, but nothing very special. If you’ll have any questions – feel free to ask.

This time I’m in!

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 10:57 pm

I missed the last one, but this time I’m going to participate! The idea of #ldtd is great, but I think I’ll either stick to the official theme or will choose my favorite one – Space.

My tools:

  • JavaScript (coffeescript) + Pixi.js for coding
  • Photoshop for art
  • Bfxr for sounds

Last time I used Playcraft Engine, but it seems that its creator doesn’t pay much attention to it, so I’m going to use pixi instead.

Good luck to you all, have fun!

Day 2 progress: Playable game!

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Sunday, December 16th, 2012 5:33 pm

The Compo is almost finished, and I’m glad to introduce you the Overlord!

My game is a small real-time strategy where you should expand your evil possessions, train skeletons and mutants, and destroy the enemy’s castle.

You can try the game and read instructions at my entry page.

Play Overlord:

What do you think about it?

Day 1 Progress: Building, Units, Movement

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 1:35 pm

My first day is over. The overall progress of the game is pretty good, I was expecting much less than this. The demo is available here.

Done:

  • Random lanscape generation
  • Building
  • Resource gathering
  • Unit creation
  • Unit movement towards the closest enemy building

To-do:

  • Destroying buildings
  • Enemy AI
  • Other kinds of units
  • Better art & sprite animation
  • Balance
  • Video tutorial

I’ll definitely submit it as a jam entry to have few additional hours to fix bugs & improve AI.

Progress Report

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Saturday, December 15th, 2012 4:11 am

It’s been 10 hours since the beginning of the competition, and 5 hours since I started working on the game. I think it’s time for a short progress report.

I decided to create a small real-time strategy game using Playcraft.js. I’ll probably regret it because the task seem to be much more complex than I supposed – I’m lacking of knowledge of the framework, I never created real-time games before, never created strategy games, and never developed complex AI.

Well, so many things I didn’t do before… And it’s cool! I’ll probably not finish the game in time, but will definitely learn a lot while doing it. And will also improve my drawing skills, which is also good.

The first screenshot:

villain_1

 

Some game details:

  • You’re the villain trying to conquer the country which is ruled by the King
  • You have a castle where you start
  • You should build farms, mines, and villages to get food, gold, and citizens
  • You should build barracks, labs, and factories to convert citizens to soldiers, mutants, and devastators
  • Your fighters can attack King’s fighters and destroy King’s buildings, while the opponent does the same to your possessions
  • You win when you capture the King’s castle, or lose when the King captures yours

That’s it.

P.S. I know where I’ll put the goat to get the badge :)

I’m in! From Russia with love

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Thursday, December 13th, 2012 8:04 am

Hi Folks!

I’ll participate the upcoming Ludum Dare, second time (see my first entry). I’m from Russia, so I’ll probably start few hours later than others, but will stay until the end!

This time I’ll most likely to participate in Jam instead of Compo, that will depend on the game theme and my overall progress in first 48 hours. As the rules require, I must post about my toolset, so here it is:

Client: HTML5, CoffeeScript, Playcraft.js, Spine.js

Server: Ruby on Rails 3, Redis

IDE: Sublime Text 2

Graphics: PhotoShop

Audio: SFXR

Follow me on twitter to get the updates.

Let’s enjoy the party!

EvoProbe: Done!

Posted by (twitter: @dekart1234)
Sunday, August 26th, 2012 5:24 pm

EvoProbe version 0.0.0.0.1 is ready! I think it’s time for me to stop typing code and polish last pixels. If the game won’t succeed as it is now – it won’t succeed at all :)

Play EvoProbe Now »

Hope you’ll like it enough to vote for it! 😉

Some final screenshots:

I even managed to add some sounds to it during last hour. Unfortunately, no music in this version, but I’ll definitely add it later, after LD voting. As well as 64 plantes that are in the storyline but weren’t included to the final version because of lack of time.

Total development time, exluding all breaks, sleep & relax: 29 hours

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